While the risk of flooding is never completely absent, and flood insurance is always a good idea, now more than ever we recommend that you protect yourself by discussing your flood insurance options with your agent.

Periodically reviewing your insurance is always a sensible precaution, but recent changes regarding flood insurance in New Jersey make it more important than ever that you check in with your agent. The flood insurance regulations in New Jersey have undergone alterations which could make flood insurance more affordable and beneficial to you. We are linking the document that FEMA published outlining the recently enacted NFIP (National Flood Insurance Program) regulation changes here: W-18008.

In simple terms, what this means for you is that if you are an NFIP policyholder, you have the chance to switch to a potentially much less expensive flood insurance policy through a private market insurer, without any penalty from NFIP. The new regulations will also be highly beneficial to anyone involved with buying or selling a home by offsetting certain ratios of the mortgage bank requirements. If any of the changes described in W-18008 seem a bit confusing, talk to your agent who can explain what the updates mean for you personally and recommend some cost saving measures that are now available to you.

If the new regulations and chance for significant savings aren’t enough of an incentive for you to review your flood insurance, the forecasts for 2018-2019 weather patterns should be. NOAA has predicted a 75% chance for an upcoming El Niño, which will bring higher temperatures and increased precipitation to most of the country, including the Mid-Atlantic region, for the late fall and through the winter. This elevates the chance that much of the snow we expect could be heavy rain instead.

Let’s also not forget about how the continuing rise in the sea level increases the risk of flooding. As a reminder of the severity of the weather last winter, here is a report from climate.gov about the nor’easters of February and March, in which Tom Di Liberto writes, “Regardless of whether these storms are getting stronger, they are occurring over an ocean that is fuller than it used to be. This all makes it easier for storms to push enough water onshore to cause flooding.” This factor, combined with the likelihood of higher-than-normal temperatures and precipitation, makes flooding for New Jersey in the coming seasons a potential hazard that should not be ignored.

Given the new financially advantageous regulations and the increased risk for flooding during 2018-2019, speaking with your agent to review your options for flood insurance is a must.